Essex Marketing bosses dupe shareholders into £3.5m investment
Two company directors who provided prospective shareholders with false information to secure millions in investments have been banned for a total of 17 years.
Lee Anthony Skinner has been banned for 10 years, while Karen Ferreira has been disqualified for 7 years. The pair are banned from acting as directors either directly or indirectly, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.
Skinner and Ferreira were directors of an online affiliate marketing company, Our Price Records Ltd. The company remained dormant until 2014 before Karen Ferreira and Lee Skinner attempted to raise funds from the sale of shares in the company.
Our Price Records Ltd, however, entered into administration in April 2017 before being referred to the Insolvency Service for further enquiries.
Investigators found that Karen Ferreira and Lee Skinner both sold shares to 260 investors and secured almost £3.5 million under false pretences and breached financial regulations.
Both directors also created promotional material which was used to dupe prospective shareholders into believing that their brand was well known, despite having their application to register Our Price Records as a trademark opposed by the original owner.
Our Price Records sold the shares through a third party but neither had the authority to engage in investment activity, breaching financial regulations.
The pair also failed to tell investors that Our Price Records had entered into agreements to pay up to 50% of total funds raised to the third parties selling the shares. In total, Karen Ferreira and Lee Skinner paid at least £1.58 million in commission to third parties.
Investigators also found that Karen Ferreira was a director of two other companies which had entered into general service agreements with Our Price Records. But investors were not made aware of this nor that Our Price Records paid the company in total more than £750,000.
One of the companies that Karen Ferreira was a director of entered into a commercial loan agreement with Lee Skinner and granted a loan of up to £1 million on the understanding he would pay for Our Price Record’s administrative and marketing services. A total of more than £760,000 was paid to Lee Skinner and no repayments have been made.
The funds raised remain outstanding to the investors in the administration and the investors are not protected under the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme.